Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Deeply humbled

Wasn't anyone else as impressed by this as I was? It must have been some deep intuition that caused me to turn on the television at 11:10 PM last night; I caught the winning Russian performance, by the pair that recovered from a drop and severe concussion two years ago, and then the Chinese silver medalists, who possibly impressed me even more.

Less than a minute into their program, they attempted some fabulous move that has never been done in competition before; the commentator said "They've been doing this very well in practice, with a 40-50% success rate." Forty to fifty percent? That seems long odds to Pretty Lady.

The ensuing blow to the knee, sustained by Zhang Hao, looked to be comparable to the injury sustained by Pretty Lady in Tahoe a number of years ago, when she took a blue-diamond slope at an unjustifiable speed, hit a large bump, sailed goodness knows how many feet into the air, and landed upon her right patella. The two Frenchmen who accompanied her found this all very amusing.

But Pretty Lady was not getting up again to skate any Olympic-medal-winning performance after that, you can be sure. She sat at the top of the hill while the Frenchmen finished their run, and limped carefully home. Even the weight of the ski pulling her leg down while sitting on the lift was excrutiating.

The thing about pain and adrenalin is that there has to be a whole lot of the former to trump the latter. Pretty Lady has had the experience of having her head slammed, maliciously and forcefully, into an asphalt surface, by some random persons who intended to knock her unconscious and rape her; the salient detail which she noted at the time was that this did not hurt at all. If Zhang Hao was hurting badly enough to double over and stop her programme after that fall, you can bet that it wasn't a mere tap. Pretty Lady did not expect her to get back on the ice after forty-five seconds of consultation; when she did, Pretty Lady expected to see an even more dramatic catastrophe. She was chewing her hands, verily she was.

And lovely, lovely Zhang Hao and her charming partner sailed gloriously to a silver medal. Pretty Lady cannot imagine why bells are not trumpeting all over the city this morning.

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